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The Kauto Star story

Kauto Star
Kauto Star is stabled at Ditcheat in Somerset

By Frank Keogh

Kauto Star is the equine star who has got the racing world talking with his steeplechase heroics.

The 12-year-old created history on Boxing Day 2011 at Kempton Park by becoming the first horse to win a fifth King George VI Chase at Kempton Park.

He was pulled up on his last outing in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.

Discover more about the team behind a racing hero.


Foaled: 19 March, 2000 Breeding: Village Star-Kauto Relka (France)
Career placings
Owner says: Horse's name should be pronounced 'Kaw-to Star' not "Kay-to Star'. Jockey and trainer once preferred the latter.

Bred in France where he so impressed with his seemingly out-of-this-world pace and power, he was nicknamed 'L'Extraterrestrial'.

Kauto Star

Kauto Star stands at 16.3 hands high (1.6m from floor to shoulder) and weighs about 520-530kg (81-83 stone).

In 41 races, he has been victorious 23 times, only unplaced on six occasions and was the first horse to win over £2m in prize money over jumps.

Kauto Star has run in the UK for more than seven years, during which time he has never finished out of the first three when completing a race.

Bought by Clive Smith in 2004 for about 400,000 euros, but the purchase nearly never happened as the owner's main target at the time had been Garde Champetre until he was outbid by Irish millionaire JP McManus.

The French import delivered on all his promise during the 2006-07 season, winning all six of his high-class races at six different tracks, over distances ranging from two miles to more than three-and-a-quarter miles.

In 2009 he became the first horse to regain the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the blue riband event of steeplechasing, having lost to stablemate Denman the previous year.

Just as many felt he was heading towards retirement, he showed all his old zest when winning the Betfair Chase at Haydock for the fourth time in November 2011.

He then followed it up by creating history in the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day, cementing his place as one of the greatest steeplechasers of all time.


Born: 17 April 1962 Alveston, Bristol
Big wins: Gold Cup 1999 See More Business, 2007 Kauto Star, 2008 Denman, 2009 Kauto Star; Champion Chase 1999 Call Equiname, 2004 Azertyuiop, 2008 Master Minded, 2009 Master Minded
He says: "I've never had any doubt Kauto Star was the real deal."

Trainer Paul Nicholls

The son of a policeman, Nicholls was a jump jockey in the 1980s, riding for nine years, and winning the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Newbury twice.

He was assistant trainer to Devon-based David Barons, for whom he had ridden several winners, and was there when the stable sent out Seagram to win the 1991 Grand National at Aintree.

Nicholls took out a licence at Manor Farm Stables in Ditcheat, Somerset, later that year and is now the dominant force in jump racing.

He wrested the top trainer title from west country rival Martin Pipe in 2006, and Pipe retired on the day Nicholls was crowned champion.

Nicholls has been champion since and is good friends with another sporting winner - Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who part-owns the Nicholls-trained Hennessy runner-up What A Friend.

The trainer is seen as eloquent, honest and popular with many punter.

He once sent out seven winners and three seconds on a Saturday in 1998. Twice divorced, he is now with partner Georgie Browne, the former wife of racing pundit Luke Harvey.


Born: 14 May, 1979. Kill, County Kildare
Big wins: Grand National, 2000 Papillon, 2005 Hedgehunter; Gold Cup 2007 Kauto Star, 2009 Kauto Star
He says: "If you make a mistake, own up to it."

Jockey Ruby Walsh

Dreamed of winning the Gold Cup ever since, aged six, he saw his dad Ted on TV winning the amateurs' version - the Foxhunters' Chase - in 1986 on Attitude Adjuster.

In the same week, great Irish mare Dawn Run won the blue riband.

Ruby, who was christened Rupert, won the Grand National with Papillon for his father Ted in 2000 and repeated the trick on the Willie Mullins-trained Hedgehunter five years later.

Despite the National's wider appeal, the prematurely grey-haired Ruby believes the Gold Cup is the world's best steeplechase.

Famed for his horsemanship and patient riding style - he makes sitting still look an art form.

Walsh was a former scrum-half for his local Naas side in Kildare and is a passionate Manchester United fan. He says if Kauto Star was a footballer, he would be former United star Cristiano Ronaldo.

"Kauto would be the guy who can score from anywhere but likes to beat the extra player before he does," says Walsh.

For the first time in the King George, Kauto had to cope in 2010 without Walsh, who was ruled out with a broken leg. The horse was beaten under champion jockey Tony McCoy into third by Long Run.


Age: 69 Background: Went to school in Windsor. Lives in Surrey.
Business success: Designing and building pay-and-play golf courses.
Racing success: 2005 Grand National runner-up Royal Auclair; 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011 King George; 2007 & 2009 Gold Cup Kauto Star; 2008 & 2009 Champion Chase Master Minded
He says: "I can't stand snobbery. I dislike people who were born with a head start in life looking down on others."

Kauto Star owner Clive Smith

Smith and his partner Janet Fleetwood slept with the Gold Cup on their bedside table after his first Cheltenham win.

He had dreamed of winning the trophy since attending his first Cheltenham Festival in 1974, and seeing Captain Christy triumph.

The down-to-earth businessman, who has made his personal fortune after spotting a gap in the market for decent public golf courses, has attended every day of the Festival since 1981.

He says Kauto should be pronounced in a similar way to auto. He has a passion for Lagonda cars and has sponsored the Lagonda trophy for young golfers, which has previously been won by Lee Westwood and Luke Donald.

A racehorse owner for more than 20 years, with trainers including Jenny Pitman and Martin Pipe, he has suffered the bad moments as well as the highs, and is steeped in racing's history.

Smith's purple, green and yellow colours are taken from the heather-clad scenery of Camberley Heath golf course where he was once captain.

His breakthrough business golf course was Hawthorn Hill, which he later sold for a reported £8m. It was on the site of a former racecourse.


Head lad Clifford Baker rides Kauto Star out every day. He also supervised Gold Cup winners See More Business (for Nicholls) and Charter Party (David Nicholson).

Head girl Rose Loxton is Kauto Star's groom and also looks after three-time Cheltenham World Hurdle winner Big Buck's.

Bloodstock agent Anthony Bromley found the horse in France and bought him for Smith for 400,000 euros in the summer of 2004.

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see also
Kauto Star wins fifth King George
26 Dec 11 |  Horse Racing
Brilliant Kauto trounces Long Run
19 Nov 11 |  Horse Racing
Long Run clinches Gold Cup glory
18 Mar 11 |  Horse Racing
Kauto Star fails as Long Run wins
15 Jan 11 |  Horse Racing
Star of wonder
13 Jan 11 |  Horse Racing
Kauto races to King George record
26 Dec 09 |  Horse Racing
Four cheers for Kauto Star
26 Dec 09 |  Horse Racing
Kauto destined for Dessie mantle
22 Dec 09 |  Horse Racing
Kauto Star secures thrilling win
21 Nov 09 |  Horse Racing
Historic Gold Cup win for Kauto
13 Mar 09 |  Horse Racing
Racing boosted by Kauto Star
17 Mar 07 |  Horse Racing

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